Indonesian /C/h/i/n/e/s/e/ schoolgirl flips off old begging woman

Dian Agung Nugroho's photo "F*** You (What's on her mind ?)" captures a Chinese Indonesian schoolgirl flipping off an old Chinese Indonesian beggar lady. The title really asks the important question -- what does this little girl know, and what has she been told, that has led her to this pass? F*** You (What's on her mind ?) (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Free Culture Flash game

Over on Play This Thing! Greg Costikyan reviews Paolo Pedercini's fascinating -- if simplistic -- Free Culture game:
So like, this is a Flash that has you moving little idea objects into the little heads of little ol' people who turn green when you feed them thoughts. When you feed the people ideas, they then poop out more ideas -- literally, off the top of their heads. A vacuum cleaner called capitalism keeps sucking up ideas to feed to the passive consumers, who have turned gray. By moving your mouse around to herd the ideas to the people, you keep the mojo flowing and eventually become the John Lennon/V for Vendetta guy of the game world, turning it into some kind of user-created-content lovefest. It's like the end of The Invisibles, but not as vivid.

The argument seems to be this: When ideas are shared, everyone gets richer, because the total number of ideas tends to increase in a recombinant explosion of creativity. Copyright is kind of fallacious, because all patterns of information are by default in the commons of vast, unexplored or previously explored possibility space. Ideas only become intellectual property when someone takes them out of the commons and stamps a (C) on it. The game is basically inviting you to say: "Fuck that!"

Free Culture (Thanks, Greg!) Read the rest

North Korean video game arcade

Here's a collection of photos from a run-down North Korean video arcade. I'm sure that lots of developing countries have similar arcades, but this is notable due to the stark contrast with the legendary PC Baang arcades in the south. Inside a North Korean Arcade (via Waxy) Read the rest

Immortal McHorror burger is 12 years old, looks just like new

Karen Hanrahan has been using the same McDonald's hamburger as a prop in her "Healthy Choices for Children" class since 1996 -- 12 years! -- and it's hardly aged a day in all that time. McDonald's should add "immortality" to its list of Unique Selling Propositions for its burgers (unless Karen has an ornate oil painting of the burger in her living room in which it slowly ages, grows mouldy, and decomposes).
The burger on the right, off the paper is a 2008 burger. I had to buy it to get the groovy paper and bag. The meat is a tad darker, the bun a little less golden but in 12 years it will look exactly like that too. Do you find this horrifying? McDonalds fills an empty space in your belly. It does nothing to nourish the cell, it is not a nutritious food. It is not a treat. I marvel at how McDonalds has infiltrated our entire world. A hamburger here tastes exactly the same in China or some around the world place.
1996 McDonalds Hamburger Read the rest

Anti-suicide barriers on Japanese train lines

From TokyoMango: "Newer train lines in Japan have suicide prevention platforms. 5-foot walls span the entire platform, with doors that only open when the train has safely stopped at the station. Jumping in front of a moving train is one of the most common suicide methods in Japan–it was, at least, until people started spreading information on how to gas themselves at home." Suicide prevention train platforms Read the rest

Rockbox 3.0: turn your old iPod into new h4wtness with free/open software

There's a new version of Rockbox out -- this is the free/open firmware replacement for MP3 players like the iPod, Archos, Sansa and others. It has many awesome features, including playback for more audio formats, like Ogg and FLAC, as well as adding games like Doom to the player. A new spoken interface makes it easier to use if you're visually impaired, too. A great way to breathe new life into an old iPod or other player -- and a great alternative to chucking it out. Rockbox 3.0 Released. Quietly., What is Rockbox? Why should I use it? (via Engadget) Read the rest

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets, we presented Low-Altitude Attack Zeppelin, our exciting futile browser game; rode to work in teflon-cuffed pants; and ate from Doha Chebib's beautiful log bowls. Joel read that Esquire's e-ink cover was an environmental bad idea, fumed at the stupid marketing term "3.75G," and lauded the new supersize Gorillapod. He spotted a device that keeps human larvae clean during meals. Rob wondered if China's electromagnetic space drive was pseudoscience, found a Windows Vista ad in an apt location, and saw a new pocket guitar amp. John reviewed Trust's useful all-in-one wireless keyboard 'n' trackball, but was otherwise indisposed. There were creepy robots; a robot breakfast; robots that fail gracefully; and robots that make party political broadcasts in England. Hook them all up with a Furutech's ultra-expensive power cable. As for another man dead after being tased by cops, perhaps it's time to take the power away. Read all this and more at Boing Boing Gadgets. Read the rest

Failin' Palin. (UPDATED: As Putin rears his head.)

Andrew Sullivan, with whom I agree not all of the time, but do this time, says this about the CBS News interview embedded above: "All you can say is: unbelievable. Except it's true. She is the vice-presidential candidate of a national political party. Seriously." Transcript here, last night's edition is here.

Update: Look! There's Pootin' rearin' his ugly head. (Thanks, Rob Beschizza)

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Who is this Rosh Hashanah person anyway?

Defamer posted this purportedly leaked email from a DreamWorks exec assistant asking who Rosh Hashanah is. I have no idea if it's real or not, but it's a hoot. "DreamWorks Assistant Thinks 'Rosh Hashanah' Is Newest Hollywood Power Broker" (Defamer, thanks Jason Weisberger!) Read the rest

China spacecraft launched, space station and manned lunar missions planned

China successfully launched the Shenzhou VII spacecraft today, in the country's third manned space mission in five years. Snip from New York Times article:

The three-day mission is part of Project 921, China’s ambitious manned space program, and was expected to include the country’s first attempt at a space walk, which would make China only the third country to accomplish the feat, after Russia and the United States.

The Chinese government has spent billions of dollars in recent years building up a space program that it hopes will establish a space station by 2020 and eventually put a man on the moon.

China Launches Space Walk Mission (NYT), and the Wikipedia article for Shenzhou V11 has lots of details. Or, go straight to China's state-run news agency Xinhua's Shenzhou VII coverage. Among the Xinhua articles is one celebrating the spread of the neologism "taikonaut"...

The word is a hybrid of the Chinese term "taikong" (space) and the Greek "naut" (traveler), or astronaut, according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Another variation on the term is "cosmonaut", coined during the Soviet space era.

"Taikonauts" a sign of China's growing global influence ( Read the rest

Chinese banks told to stop loaning money to American banks / **UPDATED**

For the "yeah we're screwed" files: "Chinese regulators have told domestic banks to stop interbank lending to U.S. financial institutions to prevent possible losses during the financial crisis, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday." China banks told to halt lending to US banks, South China Morning Post via Reuters (Thanks JDP). UPDATE: China denies the report. (thanks, Ari Schwartz) , Read the rest

My-- *Our* BoingBoing Future

Okay, then. Going 'meta' on the participatory thing, I'm making an open appeal for people to participate in the process through [which] I attempt to produce some participatory media.

Now that I've got a toe in the door at BoingBoing, I'm going to pitch them hard on a longer-term relationship. The regular bloggers' positions are pretty well filled, but there are some opportunities for a bit of engaged cultural critique and collective problem solving - especially as BoingBoing expands into BBTV, IRC, and other forms of media.

I know what I'm hoping to accomplish. Here's a snip from my first pitch email to Xeni:

Interactive, interpersonal meadia can not only expose the artificial nature of the entities currently in control of the social and economic landscape - they can restore human agency, create the right conversations, connect people, and fight fear with fun.

Happy mutants are not unaware of the problems plaguing mankind, but they are committed to confronting them through collective, uninhibited, engineered transformation (mutation) and light-hearted, kind, and amused interactions (happiness).

So, I want to create pieces that initiate the conversations and behaviors that engage people in these processes. Each one would be the beginning of a discussion, and part of an expanding wiki of resources, supporting material, and user-generated content. A piece on "local currency" would branch out to embrace the local currency efforts, discussions, and tools out there. How *does* a person create a currency for his or her town? And where are the other people interested in doing this?

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Metaphors of the mind

Why do people think that sins "feel dirty?" Why do we use the phrase "cold shoulder" to describe someone rejecting us? Chen-Bo Zhong, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto, researches these "metaphors of the mind" and the physicalization of abstract thoughts. More recently, he's studying how not thinking about a problem can lead to creative solutions to that emerging more easily. From Scientific American:
What are some other examples of how seemingly abstract thoughts, such as feeling excluded, can have physical manifestations? ZHONG: Another example would be the relation between morality and physical cleanliness. In my early work “Washing Away Your Sins: Threatened Morality and Physical Cleansing” in collaboration with Katie Liljenquist [a professor of organizational behavior at Brigham Young University], we discussed how metaphors such as “dirty hands” or “clean records” may have a psychological basis such that people make sense of morality through physical cleanliness. When people’s moral self image is threatened, as when they think about their own unethical past behaviors, people literally experience the need to engage in physical cleansing, as if the moral stain is literally physical dirt. We tested this idea in multiple studies and showed that when reminded of their past moral transgressions, people were more likely to think about cleansing-related words such as “wash” and “soap”, expressed stronger preference for cleansing products (for instance, a soap bar), and were also more likely to accept an antiseptic wipe as a free gift (rather than a pencil with equal value). Further, physical cleansing may actually be effective in mentally getting rid of moral sins.
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Smile stickers

I like designer Alex Bec's "Smile" stickers. They're simple but effective. He's posted a slew of "installations" in his Flickr photostream. Smile (, Smile photos (Flickr) Read the rest

Crystal-encrusted pot pouch

This tiny handbag, designed by Sylvia Toledano, is encrusted with Swarovski crystals. The description in the Vivre catalog reads: "Green 'leaves' are innocently set against a smoky topaz-hued pavé background." And yes, the word "leaves" is in quotations. Store your stash in here for just $1400. Other variations are also available, including one with a skull emblem. Each bag also comes with a blinged-out pen too. Marie-Jeanne Crystal Minaudiere (Vivre) Read the rest

People more prone to lie in email?

New research suggests that people are much more likely to lie in email than when using pen and paper to communicate to someone. Lehigh University management professor Liuba Belkin and her colleagues ran an interesting experiment on 48 students involving a pool of money that was to be divided among themselves and an imaginary. According to the researchers, those using email during the negotiations lied 92 percent of the time compared to pen-and-paper users who fibbed around 64 percent of the time. From a press release:
Looking for an opportunity to explain whether a shared sense of identity reduces an e-mailer’s impulse to lie, Belkin and her colleagues set up a second, related study of 69 full-time MBA students. The results of that study indicated that the more familiar e-mailers are with each other, the less deceptive their lies would be. Bu they would still lie, regardless of how well they identified with each other. In recent years, researchers who have compared e-mail to other modes of communication have found it to be associated with such unattractive behaviors as lower interpersonal trust, more negative attitudes, and, perhaps most notoriously, a greater penchant for "flaming"–sending messages that are offensive, embarrassing, or rude. But in trying to account for the difference between two communication modes that appear similar, the researchers surmise in their report that people may "feel written documents carry stronger legal consequences than do e-mails, which feel fleeting in nature, despite the fact that they are actually harder to erase or contain.
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Betelnut girl art installation on NYC street

In certain Asian countries, Betelnut is a popular stimulant sold by scantily-clad young girls in streetside booths. A couple years ago, artist Annamarie Ho recreated a Betel nut booth as a gallery installation commenting on this "sexually provocative sales style" in which, it would seem, customers are buying interaction with the salesperson as much as they're paying for the Betelnut. For the next two weekends, Annamarie is reviving the piece, Binlang Xi Shi (Betelnut Girls), but this time in the more unpredictable location of a New York City storefront. I'm sure the Betelnut Girl will have some, er, interesting interactions with the passers-by. Betelnut project page (, Binlang Xi Shi ( Previously on BB: • Lots of Betelnut posts Read the rest

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